okay. so last week i started a post on letting go of a relationship. it was part 1 of 2. can’t find it on my blog anymore? that’s because it’s not there. i deleted it. it was dumb and what i get for writing a blog at 4am when i can’t sleep. no coffee + no sleep = bad blogging.
if i had a nickle for every time i’ve had to say “seemed like a good idea at the time”, i’d be independently wealthy.
anywho, here’s what that should have been…
once upon a time i was a crazy person. like kim jong-il* crazy only more hormonal and with less social skills. there wasn’t a single emotion i had that i didn’t react to and not a decision i made that wasn’t emotionally based. sounds fun, right? no? whatever.
after my first real boyfriend and i broke up, i was wrecked. like Miranda Lambert “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”** wrecked. i couldn’t let go. the only thing that kept me from qualifying as a stalker is that he and i were almost always at the same places anyway.
poor guy. he had no idea he was releasing the cracken.
for the record, the guy has recently become my friend on facebook. but only after a 20 year no contact order***.
it didn’t take me long to realize i had gone about breaking up all wrong. fortunately, the only other breakup i had to deal with after that involved a Dear John letter. a real one. he was in the military and everything. i know. i suck.
however, i have a friend who is a pro at ending relationships.
wait. that sounded wrong…
she’s just really good at knowing what to do and how to behave after a breakup. i’ve seen her ache over the loss of someone she really thought she loved and remain classy and respectable. a lot of this blog will be based on watching her keep a firm grasp on reality.
there are two sides to the breakup coin though. the dumper and the dumpee. each needs to be handled differently to maximize the possibility of a clean break.
1. the great pretender – chances are pretty good when someone breaks up with you, you’re going to see her again. and possibly frequently. it’s going to hurt. no doubt about it. at best, it will be awkward. this is where your acting skills come in handy. you, my busted friend, are going to pretend like everything is fine. you are going to smile and laugh and act as though all is right with the world. you are going to do this when there are people around and when you happen to be alone with your ex****. this will do 2 things for you. a. people will feel less like asking you “what’s wrong?”; which is never fun. b. you will eventually stop pretending because you will train yourself to actually be fine.
2. sorry i’m unable to come to the phone right now – do not always be available if your ex calls or texts you. it’s hard to say why the dumper will attempt to stay in contact, but regardless of her reasons, you do not have to respond immediately. or at all for that matter. it’s up to you. just don’t be the guy who scrambles to answer the phone before it’s through its first ring. let it go to voicemail. that will give you a chance to listen to what she wants and decide how or if you want to respond.
3. silence is golden – stay away from her friends. i don’t care what they say/promise you, they will repeat every word, facial expression, tonal nuance (real or imagined) and shirt color back to her.
4. channel Steve Austin – the six-million dollar man. not Stone Cold. think, “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him…Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.” that which does not kill us and all. at first Steve was confused and had to make adjustments, but he survived. not only was he stronger, he was able to see things more clearly. zero in on what was important, so to speak.
5. slow and steady can bite me – slow and steady is great when you’re developing a relationship. but when it comes to recovering your own identity after a breakup, the sooner the better. the faster you remember who you are and your own value, the quicker the healing takes place. if you find that’s hard to do, apply the same principles in number 1 or read this.
1. have mercy – if you are doing the dumping, don’t keep coming around and calling. your reasons for wanting to do it (making sure she’s all right, seeing if she’s still hung up on you, for attention) don’t matter. spare her your concern or selfishness and let her get on with her life.
2. see number 2 above – the reasons to not answer your phone are a little different but the result is the same. boundaries, people, boundaries.
3. space, the final frontier – when you both end up in the same place, let her come to you if she wants to, but don’t ignore her either. it’s a fine line, trying to be kind. just do the best you can.
i could write a whole other blog on what breakups look like online. but it’s already been done. a lot. however, here’s a couple of things that are truths for the e-dumper and the e-dumpee:
1. facebook relationship status – just delete it. don’t change it. changing it prompts 487 of your e-friends to ask all kinds of questions that are none of their business and just cause hurt to you both.
2. tweets of pain – keep your issues off the internet. you can’t boil the relationship down to 14o characters or less so don’t even try. raging posts just reflect badly on you and nobody wants to see them except for dysfunctional friends who also enjoy wallowing and making spectacles of themselves.
3. do not flaunt your wares – there’s nothing worse than ending a relationship one day then posting new pics of you with a girl on your lap the next. bad taste, dude. bad taste.
breakups are hard. there’s no way they don’t just blow. you can, however, minimize the carnage by respecting yourself, respecting the other person (even if they don’t deserve it) and lifting your chin. take the high road, my friend. even if you need to make a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get the gear to climb up to it….
*oh yeah, i dropped the North Korea bomb
***okay, it wasn’t a legal thing, but it probably should have been
****i hate the term “ex” for ex-girlfriend/boyfriend. it used to be only for divorced people. i still think it should be. *kicks rocks*